By Supana Onikage and Youta. Released in Japan as “Zettai ni Hatarakitakunai Dungeon Master ga Damin wo Musaboru Made” by OVERLAP, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Quof.
I tend to review a lot of light novels, and try to keep up as much as I can. That said, with J-Novel Club recently taking it up a notch, I have to come to the conclusion that I can’t keep up with everything. Fortunately, their first new release in this huge batch of licenses, Lazy Dungeon Master, allows me to bow out gracefully. A work that seems designed entirely for the “is there snu snu?” reader, Lazy Dungeon Master has many faults, but its largest seems to be that the laziness of its titular hero is not just “wants to sleep all the time”, but also “his moral and ethical sense is that he can’t be bothered”. This is a shame, as the book made a valiant effort to get my interest in its last quarter, where I was genuinely entertained. But it can’t make up for the beginning, and the afterword suggests this is the toned-down version.
Keima is your average Japanese boy who is transported to a world where he has been summoned by a dungeon, whose core takes the form of a cute, busty girl (who can also transform into a far younger girl, but let’s not go there). He’s there to help save the dungeon from being destroyed. The problem is that the dungeon core, who he names Rokuko, has no common sense whatsoever. And the dungeon is already occupied by bandits, who are using it as a home base. It’s also just one room. As such, Keima has his work cut out for him. Fortunately, he may be lazy and morally bankrupt, but he’s rather clever, and so by use of several items, some tricks, and a dog-girl slave named Niku (more on that later), he is able to save the day and slightly expand the dungeon. As the series goes on, hijinks will no doubt ensue. And yes, Rokuko has already fallen in love with him, and I think Niku has as well. Sadly, all he cares about is their feet.
I’ll start with the good. The moment the dungeon battle begins, the series becomes genuinely entertaining, and I found myself smiling and laughing more than a few times. Well done. Now, the bad: the rest of the book. The bandits are scum, and take two sex slaves (no, really, they’re CALLED sex slaves) back to the dungeon to bang. Keima sees this… and does nothing, as his laziness and self-preservation overcome any horror he may have for what he’s seeing. And given his matter of fact “whoah, they’re raping that girl” narration, he’s not that horrified. Niku, the little girl slave (whose name literally means “Meat”, and I thank the Lord it wasn’t translated that way – leave that to Haganai) is introduced to us as basically a dead-eyed husk, and it’s clear what’s been happening to her before this. The afterword suggests that this book was edited so she’s “too young” and merely used as a servant while the bandits screw the older sex slave, but… you can’t remove a backstory but still have the obvious evidence that it happened. The whole thing is creepy.
There’s other things I didn’t like. Parts of the book where Keima and Rokuko simply sit and comment on the things they’re seeing from inside the dungeon core feel like a bad episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Haku is an interesting antagonist who turns out to not really be one, but the yuri scenes seem rather forced and “service, service!” to me. Most importantly: Keima is clever and has the potential to be powerful, but I suspect his uncaring attitude will also keep going. And I don’t trust the author not to make more bad decisions. Recommended for those who are the sort to have read the webnovel version already. I will be moving on.